A Congressional panel released a report Wednesday that alleges that Iran’s elite Al-Quds force offers support to Al-Qaeda, adding a new dimension to the militant threat to the United States.
In its report to the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, the strategic advisory firm Kronos highlighted what it says are increasingly strong links between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps force and Al-Qaeda.
The report was released by the caucus after US troops killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan that raised fresh doubts about Pakistan’s willingness or ability to track down Al-Qaeda suspects.
“Iran has quietly forged a strong working relationship with core al-Qaeda?s leaders,” said the report’s author Michael S. Smith II.
“Through it, Iran will likely also help Al-Qaeda mobilize terrorists to carry out attacks against the US and our allies, providing the support required to extend Al-Qaeda’s operational reach,” the report added.
Smith argued that not enough attention has been paid to the links between the two entities because of a “pervasive” belief that Shiite and non-Arab Iran will work with the Sunni Arab militants of Al-Qaeda.
The ties date back to the 1990s when Al-Quds members worked with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah to train and equip bin Laden’s holy warriors. He cites the 9/11 Commission Report for operational linkages between the two.
“Since 9/11, these partnerships have become all the more pronounced. Hundreds of al-Qaeda members, along with family members of core al-Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden, have found refuge inside Iran,” he wrote.